It’s been over 3 years since I wrote the letter to my younger-self where I went back in time and gave my 21-year-old-self some advice on life. I was attempting to erase any scars, blame, and grief; but as you know, you can’t change the past, but you can create the future.
This letter to my future-self is my next attempt in life, which is an exercise in self-love, a means of preserving and protecting what’s important today and into the future.
So let’s see what age 65 might look like…
Dear Future Jen,
Well… you are approaching that magical age of 65 years young, and it’s like all the things you’ve been aiming for are finally coming together. What an amazing time to be living in Jen. So many changes have happened in your exciting life and with every ending, there’s been a new beginning. You’ve had to endure some pretty major events in your life, but look at you, here you are; smiling ear to ear, despite all that.
Kids- Some of the greatest milestones after giving birth are seeing your kids graduate, seeing them get married and then seeing them have their first child. By now, maybe you would have witnessed most of these accomplishments with Justin and Nathan. They are amazing and intelligent kids, and you are truly blessed. Continue to be loving and supportive of them so they can continue to be loving and supportive of you. These kids are your two greatest accomplishments in your life Jen. Remember to hold them close and show your love each and every day, just like you’ve done all along. It was a tough road for everyone with the divorce you endured but don’t dwell on the past, you had so many valuable life lessons in there and that’s all that matters. The relationship with you and their dad has improved with time, patience, and acceptance of what happened. You are in a great space now and you have the best kids in the world. Be grateful for what you have.
Fears- You used to be afraid of public speaking, but you conquered that one a long time ago. Now your fears are bigger than that and you manage to hide them well. The two biggest fears you have are getting cancer and dying. I think it’s safe to say you are not alone when you admit these, so good for you to be brave enough to say it because now your next step is to do something to keep yourself healthy. Perhaps others will follow.
Health-Eating and Exercise – You’ve always been very conscientious about eating well and exercising. There were a few times life was harder on you and you got off track but now you are back on and I’m so proud of you for making this a priority all these years. Give your body energy by eating good food that fuels you so you can burn it off at the gym. Also, continue to get enough sleep and take your vitamins.
Self-Care-One thing I can say about you Jen is that you still love getting your hair done! I don’t think that will ever change and honestly, why should it, right?! You will never let that gray hair show and that’s perfectly fine. Remember to practice self-care because it’s important and makes you feel great. Follow the pull, not the push. Keep it simple, self-care is how you take your power back young lady.
Saying No, Setting Boundaries- I certainly hope that by age 65 you learned how to say “No” and mean it. And while you’re at it, set some boundaries for yourself. The ’40s and ’50s are the trial years and you struggle here and there. Just like I tried to tell you in your ‘20s, “No” is a complete sentence, my dear. This is still true. Never, ever settle and walk away from what doesn’t respect you. You can detect a narcissist from miles away now, what a great skill to have!
Work-It’s been such an adventure at work for you Jen. Who would have thought that being a nurse would lead to being an expert witness for malpractice cases, then entering the pharmaceutical industry? It has certainly been an exciting time in this regard and you don’t have any regrets. The work relationships you made along each path have lasted a lifetime and what a gift that’s been for you. The health care industry taught you a wealth of knowledge that you will never forget. You chose a helping profession no matter which way you went and that’s because you are a compassionate person and it makes you happy. You are someone who has always been patient-focused right from the get-go. My only hope is there is someone like you who takes their work seriously and can care for you when it’s time.
Success/Failure-The best way I can describe success is because of failing at something. This is where you learned so many life lessons and made the decision to build on them like crazy. Good for you for having an open mind when new challenges came your way and you didn’t back down. Failing is never fun or easy but as long as you get back up, you are succeeding. You are also wise enough to know that being successful doesn’t make you happy, but being happy makes you successful.
Gratitude-As you know, gratitude brings you joy from within; even during the toughest moments of your life when things were falling apart, you managed to stay on track and find things you were grateful for. It’s during the worst times of your life, you need to practice gratitude because that’s what can change your perspective and shine a light in the dark. Continue to journal because it’s working.
Retirement-The time has come to complete your working years. Congratulations girl, you did it!! I hope you find a way to celebrate all your years of service in helping others. Take a moment to pat yourself on the back because you deserve it. Thanks to an entire team of financial planners and years of hard work! What a fantastic feeling to be in this position right now. Knowing you Jen, the only thing you are thinking about right now, is “Where can I travel to next and celebrate this amazing milestone in my life?” Just remember to spend your money wisely…
Travel-There you go, I was right! The world is your oyster now Jen, so get that travel app up and running! Time to start booking some trips since you’re still healthy and active. I can see you traveling with your kids, friends and also some solo trips as you’ve done in the past. You know people in so many countries, you can visit them as you go. How exciting is that? Pick some places you’ve always wanted to visit like New Zealand, Bora Bora and anywhere in South America. Get your passport and suitcase ready!
Relationships-Friends, Family-Another prize possession of yours is your circle of friends Jen. You have been blessed with loving people in your life both near and far who truly care about you and you about them. This alone is something huge to be grateful for. If you are still fortunate enough to have your family and parents with you, remember to tell them you love them. Spending good quality time with those you love is one of the most important things you can do in your life. Have those conversations you’ve been avoiding, now is the time to get it out. Communication is key in all relationships and being able to say how you feel is where you begin, so speak up Jen. Life is very short. You value honesty, integrity, respect, loyalty, kindness, compassion and attention. These values drive your behavior and it’s what you look for in others. Keep going…
Love/Heartbreak-This is the one area of your life that’s never been an easy one for you, unfortunately. I do hope that by the time you are 65 years young Jen, that you found that special someone whom you love and loves you right back with everything he’s got. Someone who sees your worth and doesn’t take advantage of you but treats you right because you definitely deserve it. He needs to take care of you because you will take care of him, that is for sure. Even though you are a successful woman with all the freedom in the world, it would be nice to share time with someone who adores you in an authentic way. At the same time, heartbreak has taught you many lessons and by now you know what you shouldn’t tolerate, so once again, don’t play their games and don’t settle, you’re better than that. The next guy has to be pretty damn amazing and put some effort in, or forget about it. You deserve a man who will pay attention to you and be there for you when you need it most. You’ve endured enough emotional days in this area, it’s time for some fantastic days instead. On the other hand, if the Universe has something else in mind for you to be on your own, then make the best of it and enjoy. Keep practicing self-love, either way.
Emotional Rescue-If you had a dollar for every emotional roller-coaster you’ve been on since day one Jen, you could have retired a long time ago! Ugh!! Thanks to writing and exercising it helped you get out of your funk very well. Remember this for the rest of your life because you never know how things will go and you really don’t want to look like the crazy one! You’ve come a long way with your “project-self” topics and now you can cope with life even better and take care of you the way you should. With love and compassion. Keep writing, it is such a great healing tool emotionally.
Unfinished Business-At this point, I don’t know what your unfinished business will be, but if there is any, my advice to you is to complete it and cross it off that list of yours. This is clutter in your life, that you don’t need, just deal with it and get it done. You’ll feel much better afterward.
Hobbies/Interests- You wrote a book after your divorce and what an accomplishment that was both mentally and emotionally. It’s almost like you creatively grieved it. Kudos to you for doing this and another book is in your future as well. The topics aren’t 100% clear quite yet but since writing is soul therapy for you, you have to do it. Not only does it help you, but it also helps others that are in line with your values once again. One of your latest hobbies is salsa dancing and my goodness, what a great time you’ve had, you are quite the dancing queen! I think you need to do a girls getaway vacation in South America first! Arriba!
Goals-Stop doing useless things, start doing new activities, continue doing your writing and travel. Practice self-care. Wear sunscreen. Love with all your heart. Repeat…
Hopes and Dreams-I hope you are living a life of peace, love, and happiness. That you have finally stepped into who you truly are and you are owning your life, Jen. That you are surrounded by everyone who matters to you in your heart of hearts, and in your dreams. In the end, it’s our close relationships that matter the most so take the time to cultivate them as best as you possibly can. I hope you and your kids are healthy and happy.
Advice-Live your life as authentically as humanly possible. Not because of others expectations, but be brave and do it for you. Work hard, but not too hard that you miss out on life, especially with your kids. Always practice a work-life balance. Be courageous and express how you feel to others. Put the time and effort into your friendships and family. Sometimes you need to break out of your comfort zone to be happy. Feeling stuck in anything with anyone isn’t worth it. Take the high road and apologize. Don’t play the victim or rescuer, they are so unattractive. Say I love you and mean it. In the end, it’s all about relationships with your kids, family, friends, at work and with yourself.
Regrets-If you follow the advice above, you won’t have any regrets 🙂 Honestly, everything happens for a reason and leads you to the next best thing, so take the good with the bad, it’s ok.
Questions-Let me think about it, I’ll let you know in some years from now 😛
I will carefully store this letter to my future self in a time capsule for later use. It will be interesting to read it years from now and see what rings true for me. In the meantime, I will continue to live my best life and honor my relationships with all my heart. After all, I’ve come this far, and there’s no turning back ❤
Your future looks bright, and you still have a long way to go…
Love Always ❤
**Copies of “Winning While Losing: The Upside of Heartbreak” are available at online bookstores worldwide. All my gratitude to you. Dare to live courageously…